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LEGAL | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Franchise Registry introduces workplace transparency standard

The Australian Franchise Registry released a standard for workplace transparency by franchise systems to enable registered franchise systems to positively promote their compliance. The Workplace Transparency Standard has been developed after consultation with key industry stakeholders, and draws significantly from the compliance expectations of Fair Work Australia as promulgated through their compliance undertakings.

"Recent events have caused the franchise sector to reflect upon the respective roles of franchisors and franchisees in the context of workplace compliance. The new Workplace Transparency Standard codifies those industry expectations, and in doing so provides confidence to all employed by registered brands," said Frandata Australia CEO Darryn McAuliffe.

The Workplace Transparency Standard makes it clear that workplace compliance is a collaborative responsibility - franchisees have the fundamental obligations as employer and operator of the franchised businesses, but there are also expectations of franchisors. Under the Standard franchisors are expected to certify in respect of all of their franchisees that:

  1. they have provided training to all franchisees in relation to relevant workplace laws;
  2. workplace information is contained in the operations or procedures manual provided to all franchisees, and such information is kept up to date;
  3. a hotline and/or nominated a point of contact for workplace enquires from employees of the Franchisor is also available to all employees of all Franchisees;
  4. they have required all Franchisees to provide the details of the hotline and/or point of contact to all new employees of Franchisees on commencement of employment, and to all existing employees of Franchisees in writing at least once in each financial year
  5. they will monitor compliance with applicable Commonwealth workplace laws by all Franchisees as part of normal operational and field audits and inspections;
  6. they will require any Franchisee to take appropriate remedial action to rectify any identified contraventions of such laws or instruments in the event that they become aware of any breach by a Franchisee of the Franchisee's obligations as an employer; and
  7. they will notify Fair Work Australia of any serious breach of Commonwealth workplace laws by any Franchisee.

The release of the Workplace Transparency Standard comes at a time when both the Government and the Opposition are seeking to beef up the legislative protection provided to vulnerable workers, and provide extra enforcement and investigative resources to Fair Work Australia. It provides clarity as to the expectations on franchisors and franchisees, and can play an important part in enhancing workplace compliance in the franchise sector.

The Wage Transparency Standard will only be available to existing registered brands, as it is supplementary to core registration.

Registration and the publicly accessible search function can be accessed online through www.thefranchiseregistry.com.au
 

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